How to Say Happy Birthday in French and Greet People With a Twist

How to Say Happy Birthday in French
Want to wish your French friend on his/her birthday? Why not do it in French? Even if you don't know a word of French, don't worry! Here's an article on how to say happy birthday in French.
BirthdayFrenzy Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Joyeux Anniversaire Happy Birthday in French
French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Due to France's aggressive colonization of several parts of the world, their language was imposed on many people in many parts of the world. And while France had a little colony here and there in all parts of the world, their most important colonies were in Northern Africa, which was their biggest stronghold.

Even today, we see traces of the French culture in these countries, (notice how the country Ivory Coast has a French name - Côte d'Ivoire?) and a lot of their names are still French. Add to that, the French language remains one of the most widely taught languages in the world, due to their impeccable education system, and the French culture remains one of the most looked up to cultures as well. But, let's not lose sight of our goal here. My point is that you will definitely come across a French person or someone who speaks French at some point in time.

Now I have some good news and some bad news. Good news is that learning the words to Happy Birthday in French is remarkably easy. The bad part is that pronouncing them can be a teeny-weeny bit of a hassle. Now, if you've seen the movie Pink Panther starring Steve Martin, you will realize that the French have particularly wonky pronunciations. Anyway, here are different ways of wishing someone on their birthday in French.

Joyeux Anniversaire!

Twisted, isn't it! It'll take you a good part of an hour to wrap your head around these words. And at the end of it, you'll end up saying something ridiculously different. I'm sure that at the end of it, you're going to say jaw ey yux anni ver sae re, which is completely wrong! Now, this will confuse your French friends to no end and make you look pretty silly in front of them. This phrase is actually pronounced as jho yu ani ver say. A little crazy tip. If you want to really get the right twang in your French pronunciations, just picture Jacques Clouseau or Arsene Wenger (if you're into English soccer) speaking! But for now, here are a few more ways on how to say and pronounce happy birthday in French.
  • Bonne Anniversaire! ~ bahn anni ver say
  • Bonne Fete (Canadian French) ~ bahn fet
Birthday Song

Now, let us learn how to sing the birthday song in French!

Bon Anniversaire a toi,
Bon Anniversaire a toi,
Bon Anniversaire (name of your friend),
Bon Anniversaire a toi


~ (bahn anni ver say aa twa)

As you can see, French is a language pretty difficult to learn. It is also one which is delightfully rich in those little regional variations in grammar and composition, colloquialisms and pronunciations, which makes it more fun to learn and explore. And, as is the case with any language, it is also a very enriching experience.